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tv   BBC World News America  PBS  September 19, 2017 2:30pm-3:01pm PDT

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>> this is "bbc world news america." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days, cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea.
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nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> and now, "bbc world news." rajini: this is "bbc world news america." reporting from washington, i'm rajini vaidyanathan. a powerful earthquake hits mexico in the capital. buildings have collapsed, and an unknown number of people trapped in the debris. the death toll is rising. plus, hurricane maria's racing through the caribbean as a category five storm. the small island of dominica has seen mind-boggling damage, while others brace for impact. laura: and i am laura trevelyan at the united nations. president trump addresses the general assembly here in new york with his toughest talk reserved for north korea, vowing to totally destroy the country if threatened. president trump: rocket man is
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on a suicide mission for himself and his regime. welcome to our viewers on public television in america and around the globe. this afternoon, a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck mexico. there are reports that the buildings have collapsed in the capital, mexico city, and the death toll is rising rapidly. the quake happened just hours after drills were held on the anniversary of a devastating quake that killed thousands of people in 1985. james cook starts our coverage. james: mexico city is one of the most densely packed places on earth. more than 20 million people live in this metropolis. any powerful earthquake here is especially devastating.
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struck aroundr lunchtime, prompting panic. these mobile phone pictures show what appear to be columns of dust from collapsed buildings. fires are being reported, and people are urged not to smoke because of the danger from gas leaks. an already, rescue work is underway. it is not clear how many people may be trapped. this is not even the epicenter. seismologists say that was 70 miles to the southeast in neighboring puebla province. these distressing pictures appear to show buildings collapsing in the aftermath of the quake. many fled into the streets, but not everyone. the damage happened on the anniversary of the devastating 1985 earthquake. this morning, many residents had taken part in an emergency drill, preparing for exactly this event. now the 19th of september will be remembered in mexico city for not one, but 2 disasters. james cook, bbc news. rajini: for more of what had is
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happening on the ground, i spoke daniel leee ago with person in mexico city. he joined me by webcam. i asked him about the situation there. daniel: i am here in mexico city, downtown near the colonial area. it is pretty chaotic. there are not any buildings knocked down, but there were a lot of people who had trouble getting out of their houses including here at the hotel. they had to be carried down. a lot of worry, people watching the news. interestingly enough, we had at 11:00 this morning, we had an earthquake drill. everyone thought it was rather odd that we had the earthquake two hours later, but we were prepared, i guess. rajini: daniel, take us through the moments when the earthquake hit. what were you feeling and will -- where were you at the moment? daniel: i am at the hilton hotel in mexico city, i was on the 26th floor, and it was really moving. i sent a video.
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it was swaying back and forth. all the glass fell, and we were worried that the windows would break, but they didn't. the coffee machine, everything fell down, tables. it was really crazy. it lasted, i don't know, 30 seconds, but it seemed forever. we had to go down the stairs, and 26 floors on the stairs took quite a while. there were broken pipes, i think the pool might have been leaking. it was slippery going down and a couple people were slipping. so a lot of pandemonium. rajini: and what assistance are the authorities offering people? have you been told anything? what can you see from where you are? daniel: we have heard that there is five people dead in mexico city. 42 in the state of puebla. the government has come out -- sorry, 42 in the state of morellos. they were very fast to react. the police have a special
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service for earthquakes. there was a lot of effort, especially after the drill, which happened 12 hours earlier, so i think they were very well prepared. they reacted very quickly. rajini: well, thank you very much for joining us live from mexico city, daniel. for more on the impact of this earthquake, i'm now joined on the phone by the former mexican ambassador to the united states. he joins us from washington, d.c. we are hearing a lot about the geographical spread of the earthquake. where exactly has it hit? what do you know about that? >> i'm certainly not a geologist, but from what i've been able to see on social media , and i was watching some of the mexican broadcasts -- the president was giving an interview about half an hour ago . it seems that in the state of , a state next to mexico city, and that accounts probably for the high told that we already have in the state where
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they are reporting about 42 people dead -- it is the difference between the previous earthquake that hit about 10 days ago in mexico and that one was off the coast, but this was in the landmass along one of the faultlines that was responsible for the huge earthquake in 1985, precisely today, that killed thousands of mexicans when the earthquake hit in 1985. rajini: there was actually an earthquake drill taking place today. that is a normal part of living in mexico, being prepared for an eventuality of an earthquake. >> yes, and one of the things i think is truly remarkable is how much mexico has advanced not only in terms of regulations and construction and infrastructure, but also in terms of drills, preparedness. there is a seismic alarm, which
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goes off a few seconds off before an earthquake hits. it is very impressive, and you can see it in the previous earthquake 10 days ago and this one, the magnitude of the damage compared to what happened in 1985, where we unfortunately -- i was on the streets as a volunteer, and buildings had completely collapsed. not only is the damage, despite the large scale of this earthquake, much smaller, but the casualties are also significantly lower compared to what happened in 1985. rajini: ambassador come what kind of relief efforts are likely to be kicking in right now? >> well, the mexican -- we don't have fema like you do in the u.s. mexican emergency response capabilities have always been borne by the mexican forces, so there is a special plan put in motion whenever a natural disaster hits.
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it is already in motion. the army and marines, the navy, are on the streets already providing immediate assistance. and they have been extremely successful in the past in these types of operations. ,hey are already out in force and civil society in mexico has also been from the get-go working on some of the collapsed buildings and bringing people out. i saw three people brought out of the building on tv right now, a few seconds ago. rajini: ambassador, thank you very much for joining us. of course, the bbc will continue to bring you the latest on the impact of this powerful earthquake, as it continues to unfold. for now, let's handed over to my colleague laura trevelyan at the united nations, where donald trump addressed the general assembly today. laura: he most certainly did,
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rajini, and a remarkable day it was. you could hear people gasping. in his first address to the general assembly, president trump threatened north korea with the destruction if america or its allies are threatened. he said that pyongyang's quest for nuclear weapons intervals the world, and he mocked kim jong-un as rocket man on a suicide mission. president trump also took aim at the iranian leadership, calling it a corrupt dictatorship that exports violence. jon sopel starts our coverage. jon: donald trump is used to being the center of attention, but rarely has the global community waited with such baited breath to hear from him as his first address to the u.n. general assembly. the isolationist "america first" president at the very embodiment of multilateralism and multinationalism. he was more conciliatory, but he was still donald trump. president trump: as president of the united states, i will always
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put america first, just like you as the leaders of your countries will always, and should always, put your countries first. jon: he had come to hug his friends and wallop u.s. enemies, and none more so than north korea and kim jong-un, or rocket man, as he called him. north korea's 2 allocated seats stood conspicuously empty. president trump: the united states has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. the united states is ready, willing, and able, but hopefully, this will not be necessary. jon: on the iran nuclear deal, he hinted that america could still walk away from it.
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"you haven't heard the last of this," he warned. but he ended with a rallying cry for strong sovereign nations working together. president trump: we will fight together, sacrifice together, and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity, and for the almighty god who made us all. thank you, god bless you, god bless the nations of the world, and god bless the united states of america. jon: what will stand out from this address will be his comments on north korea. but there is no simple military solution. president trump: well, thank you very much. jon: at a lunch after the outspoken address, the president gave the u.n. a qualified endorsement. president trump: let's give this as a toast to the potential, the great, great potential of the united nations.
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thank you all for being here. jon: whatever its perceived shortcomings, the best way to make progress on pyongyang and on other issues will still be by this body, and the president seems to know it. laura: that is my colleague jon sopel reporting there. for more on president trump's speech today, my colleagues katty kay and christian fraser spoke with democratic senator and former vice president nominee tim kaine for their program "beyond 100 days." katty: senator kaine, thank you for joining us. donald trump has a point, hasn't he -- every leader puts their dues and the desires of the nation first, and why shouldn't countries embrace their own sovereignty? sen. kaine: i don't think that is the problem. it is how you define it, katty. one of my favorite presidents is president truman, and he changed
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the seal of the office of the president so that the eagle holding the trenches of war and all of branches of diplomacy, and he changed the seal so that the face of the eagle would always be toward the olive branches of diplomacy. you prefer that, you push that first, and you back it up with the military might. that is where the president always gets it wrong. today seems like the speech -- the tagline of the speech is total destruction of north korea, and yet he has officials like secretary mattis saying that the united states needs to pursue diplomatic options. where the administration falls short again and again is the diplomatic options side. the president doesn't seem to understand that that should be america's preferred position, backed up by military might. katty: you have been writing about the need for america to have a new truman doctrine. what is the downside risk of mr. trump's more isolationist approach? is it that other countries like russia watch what is happening and step in to fill the void? sen. kaine: i think that is part
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of the risk, but let's put it in the most challenging context right now, north korea. president trump is not even sent to the senate nominee to be ambassador to south korea, the nation most threatened by this. there is a key diplomatic position that is lacking. president trump has tweeted that he wants to undo a trade deal with south korea, and that he also is mad at south korea for appeasing north korea. at this time of great risk, he is leaving diplomatic positions unfilled, and he is making our chief ally in the region, who is very nervous, even more nervous. more to the point, today he goes after the iran deal. the iaea just last week certified that iran is complying with the deal. if the president pulls out of a nuclear deal when the global community says, well, actually, iran is complying with it, why would north korea ever do a diplomatic deal with united states?
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why would allies ever help the u.s. do a diplomatic deal to curb north korea's nuclear program? if we are truly supposed to be diplomacy first, why would the president throw cold water on the prospect of a diplomatic deal and only talk about total destruction? laura: and that was tim kaine speaking earlier to my colleagues katty kay and christian fraser about, among other things, president trump's comments about the iran nuclear deal. tomorrow we will be hearing at the u.n. from president hassan rouhani of iran could there are many who fear that his position as a moderate will be imperiled by president trump's threat to the iran nuclear deal, and if he doesn't recertify it, it would put rouhani in a precarious position and even lead to the conflict in the
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middle east. very consequential day at the united nations. back to you. rajini: thank you, laura. laura will be at the u.n. again tomorrow. parts of the caribbean already devastated by hurricane irma are in the path of a second powerful storm. hurricane maria has plowed through the island of dominica and the damage is described as mind blowing, after winds of more than 160 miles per hour. the storm is heading towards puerto rico as well as the british virgin islands, where jeremy cook sent us this report. jeremy: she is a mighty force of nature, barreling in from the atlantic. hurricane maria hit guadalupe hard. the french authorities are talking of extremely violent winds, ordering people to stay in. in martinique, too, high winds and heavy rain as the hurricane eye passed within 30 miles. widespread flooding. but perhaps the worst so far has been dominica.
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conditions so bad, hardly any pictures have emerged. an unverified video posted when the light went off. >> my neighborhood gone! jeremy: even the prime minister gordon not escape -- could not escape the storm, posting on facebook, "my roof is gone, i am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. house is flooding." here in the virgin islands, we are getting the first taste of what is to come with the arrival of hurricane maria. these communities know full well the damage that can be caused by a powerful hurricane. that is why they are battening down and preparing for the worst. right until the last minute today, these shattered communities have been doing their best to prepare. if irma was the knockout punch, what is addicted next feels like -- what is predicted as next fes like a low blow. for francine, it is all too much.
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>> all the shelters are full. i cannot find any clothing. we really need help here. a lot of people are suffering. jeremy: the harsh reality here is that all the tons of debris cannot be fixed down or made safe before the next hurricane is due to hit. adding to the problems, the drains are clogged with debris. more flooding seems inevitable. >> there is a lot of loose debris. the trees act like a barricade to the strong winds. gone, some of are the trees have fallen. the trees on the hillsides, so if we have a lot of rain, we will have erosion and potential mudslides. that is a big concern. jeremy: everyone here is doing all they can to prepare.
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all they can to prepare. more than 20,000 british citizens facing a second potentially devastating hurricane in as many weeks. jeremy cook, bbc news, on the british virgin islands. rajini: you are watching "bbc world news america." still to come on tonight's program. , have you become an apologist for ethnic cleansing? rajini: aung san suu kyi faces tough questions about ethnic cleansing. the man credited with saving the world has died. the former soviet military officer was on duty in 1983 when computers run the detected incoming missiles from the u.s. as he reported detector is serious, the cold war could have corrupted into nuclear catastrophe. -- could have erupted into nuclear catastrophe. reporter: it was at the height of the cold war where russia's early warning systems detected incoming u.s. missiles. ,> sirens sounded very badly
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and i sat there for a few seconds staring at the screen with the word "launch" displayed in bold red letters. reporter: in september 1983, stanislav petrov was on duty in a military bunker outside moscow. >> there were no rules on how long we were allowed to think. we knew that every second of the late took away valuable time that the soviet union military leadership needed. reporter: tensions between the u.s. and moscow were already high after soviet enforces shutdown a south korean passenger plane weeks earlier, killing 269 people. reportedslav petrov the missile, it would have led to a retaliatory attack. speaking to the bbc a few years ago, he said he had a hunch that the computer was wrong. >> i picked up the telephone handset, spoke to my superiors, and reported that the alarm was false. i myself wasn't sure until the
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very last moment. reporter: he had to wait 23 minutes until he was proven right. his decision is credited with averting what could have been a catastrophic nuclear war. far from being congratulated by his superiors, mr. petrov was accused of disobeying procedures. he died at his home in moscow in may this year, living alone and on a pension. but news of his death has only now been made public. rajini: in a major speech today, myanmar's leader aung san suu kyi has insisted her government has made every effort to bring peace to rakhine state, where hundreds of thousands of rohingya muslims have fled their homes. in recent weeks, 400,000 rohingya muslims have arrived in neighboring bangladesh, as a
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result of what the u.n. calls ethnic cleansing. reporter: myanmar's nobel laureate arrived for her speech with the once unthinkable question hanging in the air. ms. suu kyi, have you become an apologist for ethnic cleansing? there was no reply. that is aung san suu kyi's style these days. in the last three weeks, 400,000 rohingya muslims have fled her country, and she has had very little. ms. suu kyi, do human rights still matter to you? this televised address to diplomats was her chance to state her case to the world. ms. suu kyi: we feel deeply for the suffering of all people who have been caught up in the conflict. those who have had to flee their homes are many, not just muslims and rakhines, but small minority groups. reporter: this was ms. suu kyi giving the "both sides" defense. overwhelmingly, the victims of the crisis have been the
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rohingya. asked who was responsible for burning villages, she refused to point the finger, and then there was this. ms. suu kyi: we are concerned to hear that numbers of muslims are fleeing across the border to bangladesh. we want to find out why this exodus is happening. we would like to talk to those who have fled, as well as those who have stayed. reporter: the speech won't satisfy ms. suu kyi's many critics. a generous reading of it is that she is badly out of touch. but the ideas that she put forth that she doesn't know why hundreds of thousands of rohingya have fled into bangladesh -- well, that simply beggars belief. almost without exception they say they are fleeing atrocities being committed by burmese soldiers. some observers have called it ethnic cleansing. ultimately, ms. suu kyi doesn't control the burmese army, but
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its generals are quietly pleased that it is her taking the flak. what will it take to stop the abuses? why have so many people fled? why aren't your soldiers stopping the burning of villages? >> this is their strategic plot. the rohingya were the ones who started attacking security forces. then they ran away. they knew what they did, then got worried about it and ran away. reporter: aung san suu kyi has made her choice. her relationship with the military and the stability of her government comes before the rohingya and what is left of her reputation. rajini: before we go, here is a reminder of our top story. a powerful earthquake jolted mexico. several buildings have collapsed, and our are reports
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of people trapped in the rubble. fisa broken outcome and authority -- fires have broken out, and authorities are calling for calm. i am a rajini vaidyanathan. thanks for very much for watching us on "bbc world news america." >> with the bbc news app, our videos are designed to work around your lifestyle, so you can swipe your way through the news of the day and stay up to date with the latest headlines you can trust. download now from selected app stores. >> funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation, and kovler foundation, pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. >> planning a vacation escape that is relaxing, inviting, and exciting is a lot easier than you think. you can find it here in aruba. families, couples, and friends can all find their escape on the island with warm, sunny days,
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cooling trade winds, and the crystal blue caribbean sea. nonstop flights are available from most major airports. more information for your vacation planning is available at aruba.com. >> "bbc world news" was presented by kcet, los angeles.
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captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight... >> the u.s. has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies we will have no choice but to totally destroy north korea. >> woodruff: ...president trump ramps up his war of words in his first speech before the united nations general assembly, while singling out terrorism and emphasizing his america first policy. then, one on one with president erdogan-- i sit down with turkey's leader to talk governing after the failed coup and the growing divisions with the u.s. on how to fight terrorism. >> ( translated ): we need to fight these terrorists with the united states.

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